Italy goes to the polls on Sunday (25) to elect prime minister

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THE Italy holds this Sunday (25) the parliamentary elections that could make history, with the possibility of the country having for the first time a prime minister at the head of the most right-wing government since the 2nd World War.

Opinion polls predict that the nationalist group brothers from Italy in Giorgia Meloni will emerge as the leading party this Sunday and will share power with its allies, the League, led by Matteo Salvini, and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.

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Initially scheduled for 2023, the vote was brought forward after the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, leader of a government of national unity who resigned after losing the support of part of his base.

Brothers of Italy dates back to a post-fascist movement created at the end of World War II, and while Meloni sought to project a moderate image, both she and Salvini fiercely criticized the European Union, accusing Brussels of interfering too much in national politics.

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Raising tensions at the end of the campaign, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned on Thursday that Europe has “the tools” to deal with Italy if things take a “difficult turn”.

Now, Giorgia Meloni, the 45-year-old ultraconservative, could become the first woman to rule Italy.

His far-right party, the Brothers of Italy, was ahead in the polls leading up to the general elections, however, it won only 4.5% of the votes in the last election of 2018.

Her popularity has soared since then, in large part because she has maintained an active presence on social media and preserved her party’s stance, never straying from a conservative agenda that calls into question LGBT rights, access to abortion and immigration policies. .

The Brothers of Italy was also the only one of the main parties not to participate in the unity government formed by Mario Draghi after the fall of Giuseppe Conte in 2021, and demanded new elections rather than a technocratic correction.

Berlusconi’s Firestorm

Italy’s main center-left group, the Democratic Party (PD), ended what critics say has been a disappointing campaign, accusing the right of trying to isolate the country in Europe.

“We’ve had enough of all this anti-European talk. Long live Europe,” PD leader Enrico Letta told enthusiastic supporters.

The crowd was considerably smaller on Friday, the last day of the campaign, than on Wednesday at the same venue for the only meeting of Meloni, Salvini and Berlusconi, who tried to minimize their own political divisions.

“I have a culture and an upbringing that will allow me, when there is disagreement on a certain subject, to call them, perhaps offer them a splendid dinner and convince them before midnight,” Berlusconi said on Friday in Milan.

Earlier, Berlusconi unleashed a storm saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been “pressured” to invade Ukraine and just wanted to put “decent people” in charge of Kiev.

He later said that his views were “oversimplified”.

Voting takes place from 7 am to 11 pm (12 pm to 4 am Brasília time) this Sunday, with exit polls released when voting ends.

The importance of the youth vote

For the first time in Italian history, young people aged between 18 and 24 will have full voting rights in the national elections on September 25, which means that the voice of young people must count more than ever.

Ending a long-standing anomaly, the minimum voting age for the Upper House Senate was lowered from 25 to 18 years old, bringing it in line with the Lower House. The two houses of parliament have equal powers.

“In terms of numbers, of course it means young people are more important in these elections,” Livio Gigliuto, vice president of polling institute Istituto Piepoli, told Reuters. “The key question is how many of them actually vote.”

The rule change affects 4.1 million people out of a total electorate of 51.4 million, and while pollsters say a considerable number can abstain, politicians are not being shy in their attempts to win hearts and minds. of new voters.

True to his showman persona, former prime minister and cruise singer Silvio Berlusconi has led the way in attempts to reach them via TikTok, with videos in which he uses funny voices, cracks jokes and plays with his playboy image.

“I’m talking to you over 18 – is this to ask you to introduce me to your girlfriend? No way! I am asking you to go vote on September 25th and vote for me.” said the 85-year-old candidate last week.

With his antics, Berlusconi attracted more than 2.5 million likes on the social network in less than three weeks. But it is unclear whether the attention he is receiving will translate to the ballots.

“I saw Berlusconi’s videos on TikTok, but because they make me laugh, not because I want to vote for him,” said Alessandro Males, 20, a high school student from Milan who plans to abstain.

“Overall, I think voting doesn’t lead to any change. I don’t see any tangible differences for me whether there’s one person or another in government,” he said.

*With information from Reuters

(Posted by Anna Gabriela Costa)

Source: CNN Brasil

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